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The Role of Family Obligation and Work Experiences for College Students' Career Aspiration

Ruby Reyes and Dr. Noriko Toyokawa, Department of Human Development, California State University San Marcos, 333 S Twin Oaks Valley Rd, San Marcos, CA 92096

Nationally first-generation college students of Mexican descent enter four-year institutes at a higher rate than other ethnic groups, yet they have the lowest completion rate. Their attainment of a bachelor’s degree is crucial in improving their quality of life. Familism is a traditional culture that values family members' unity as a mutual support source. Based on the theory of social capital (1986), the current study examines the effects of three different subcomponents of familism (family obligation, family as referents, and family support) in the work experiences and career aspirations of college students of Mexican descent. Participants were 4-year university students with Mexican ethnic origins (N = 240, Mage = 20, SD = 2) who participated in an online survey throughout the nation. Familism was assessed by the Mexican American Cultural Value Scale. Career aspiration was assessed by one item, ‘What is your ideal occupation after graduation?' Participants' responses were coded into numeric values based on the Occupational Classification Distributions (US Census Bureau, 2010). Based on the findings of a zero-ordered correlation analysis, two sets of t-tests were conducted. The t-tests indicated that students with a high endorsement of family obligation had a higher GPA than students with a low endorsement of family obligation. However, family obligation endorsement did not have a significant effect on the students' career aspirations. The effect of having worked on students’ GPA was not significant. In contrast, student's career aspiration was marginally higher for students who worked in the current semester. The findings suggest that students’ stronger endorsement of family obligation motivates them to raise academic performance, but they may need resources to learn strategies to acquire ideal jobs beyond their families. Further research is needed on specific types of support that college students of Mexican descent obtain from their family members and work experiences.




Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Ruby Reyes

Institution: California State University - San Marcos

Type: Poster

Subject: Interdisciplinary Studies

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 8
Date/Time: Tue 5:00pm-6:00pm
Session Number: 5505